What I am going to present in this article is perhaps the clearest way to articulate (1) what vertical development is and (2) the value and importance of vertical development.
To lay the foundation for these two points, we need to recognize that people have two sides to themselves.
Two Sides of Ourselves
We all have a DOING SIDE, which represents our knowledge, skills, talents, and abilities. The more knowledge, skills, talents, and abilities we have, the more we can do.
We also have a BEING SIDE, which represents our character, mindsets, and psyche. The better our character, mindsets, and psyche, the better we can do.
Understanding that we have these two sides of ourselves helps illuminate some key ideas (numbers correspond with the numbers in the figure):
- The majority of leaders are more proficient with their DOING SIDE than their BEING SIDE
- Almost all development efforts (educational system, athletic programming, organizational and leadership development) focus almost solely on the DOING SIDE
- Most issues in positions of leadership (e.g., leadership, management, parenting) are the result of BEING SIDE deficiencies
- The key to developing exceptional leadership (and management and parenting) is to elevate on our BEING SIDE
How Do We Help People Elevate Along Their BEING SIDE?
There are types of development: horizontal and vertical development.
Horizontal development efforts are focused on one’s DOING SIDE. They are efforts designed to improve one’s knowledge, skills, talents, and abilities. Think most college classes. A person takes a college class to gain knowledge, skills, talents, and abilities in that particular course. But, a college class generally does not improve one’s character, mindsets, or psyche. A college class does not improve one’s ability to effectively withstand and navigate stress, pressure, uncertainty, and complexity.
Vertical development efforts are focused on one’s BEING SIDE. They are efforts designed to improve one’s character, mindsets, and psyche.
The benefits of vertical development include:
- Helping people elevate in their mental maturity, moving from dependent thinkers to independent thinkers to interdependent thinkers
- Helping people upgrade their body’s internal operating system such that they have a wider window of tolerance, and are thus more capable of navigating stress, pressure, uncertainty, and complexity
- Helping people rise above their self-protective fears and limiting beliefs so that they have operate in a manner that allows them to create more value for others
- The higher one is on their BEING SIDE, the more they will get out of their DOING SIDE
Consider James, a leader who commonly micromanages his employees.
I could send James to horizontal development trainings on how to empower employees, and James can learn the steps to empower employees. But, that generally is not enough to get James to stop micromanaging.
The reason why James micromanages is because he has a (1) deep internal belief that his people aren’t capable of doing the work right and (2) a fear that if he doesn’t micromanage, the work won’t get done right.
A horizontal development training on empowerment won’t get rid of his belief or help him rise above his fear.
The only way for James to change his belief and rise above his fear is through vertical development.
If I were working with James, I would:
- Explain the difference between our DOING SIDE and our BEING SIDE and explain that our efforts are going to focus on his BEING SIDE
- Engage in vertical development exercises to help him awaken to his limiting belief and self-protective fear
- Craft a personal vertical development plan designed to (1) push against his limiting beliefs and self-protective fear, and (2) elevate his mindsets and upgrade his internal operating system (which includes widening his window of tolerance)
- Hold him accountable to this plan and ensure elevation is occurring
Ryan Gottfredson’s Unique Value Proposition
I believe the best way to explain what I do and the value I bring to organizations and leaders is best articulated through this perspective.
I help leaders elevate along their BEING SIDE via vertical development so that they:
- Become more interdependent and strategic thinkers
- Become more capable of effectively navigating stress, pressure, uncertainty, and complexity
- Rise above their limiting beliefs and self-protective fears so that they can be greater value creators
- Get more out of their DOING SIDE knowledge, skills, talents, and abilities
If you want to bring more BEING SIDE development efforts into your organization, let’s connect.